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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

Love in Action

November 28th, 2017

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 NIV

I’m in Upper Manhattan today at our daughter’s and her husband’s apartment. The ladies have trusted me with watching my three year old granddaughter long enough for them to have breakfast together. For a three year old, love must be practical, so we have eaten strawberries together, watched approved cartoons, cuddled, and helped her build her train track, and find her favorite cars. She is a girly-girl but does have an older brother, so trains are what she knows.

They live not far from Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center – good news in case you have a medical emergency, but it also means that ambulances come throughout the night.

It made me think of the church and the disturbance of helping others. It really should be no disturbance to us if we are helping someone in need, but sometimes, like sirens in the middle of the night, we are so focused on ourselves that we complain about our inconvenience. I remember a “mature” Christian in our church several years ago who complained about the disruption of all the new Christians. He said, “They ask questions we already know the answers to. What we need is a class just for mature Christians so we are not slowed down by these new Christians.”

Think about that statement for a second. It makes us wonder just how “mature” this man really was, if he was too “mature” to help a new Christian grow in the Lord. The mark of Christian maturity is not just more knowledge on certain topics, but more love for others, more patience with others, and more compassion toward others.

The New Testament Christians were not obsessed with knowledge alone, but with a life of obedience that pleased God. The attitude of the heart was more important than the knowledge of the head alone. Love was not a philosophical pursuit but a compassion to help others. Of course, the greatest help we can ever be to someone is to share with them the good news of Jesus Christ and encourage them to trust in Christ. But it does not end there – friendship, encouragement, mutual celebration, and helps – all of these are also important.

So love in patience and compassion and in a practical way as well.

Daily Devotions , ,

Authority for Building Up

September 1st, 2017

…the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down. (2 Cor. 10:8 NIV)

Opposition to the work of the Lord can be frustrating to deal with. Its mastermind is, of course, Satan, as the scripture says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood…” (Eph. 6:12). Any human face that tends to be one that frustrates us is not our real problem, nor should they be treated as such.

Paul’s words here speak to all of us in the church a message we need to hear. It not only applied to Paul and his companions, but to every minister and to every believer. We should never think that our calling or our goal should be to damage or destroy other people. There may be times when we must rebuke one another, but never in a spirit of hopelessness. But even then, rebukes are ordinarily last resorts. It is better to serve as examples and encouragers to others.

To Timothy Paul told him:

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. (1 Tim. 4:4-6 NIV)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching… (1 Tim. 4:12-13 NIV)

In this way Paul commanded Timothy to be biblical, positive, to avoid needless confrontations, and to set an example of how to live and what to believe. And he said similar words to the entire church in Romans: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God…” (Rom. 14:19-20a).

Our authority is the same as Paul’s in this area – the authority to build others up, not to tear them down. The word for “building you up” is oikodome which means to construct a house or a building, so it is properly translated “edification.” We can edify one another by:

  • Being an example of doing what is right
  • By teaching and living the positive commands of scripture
  • By patience with and confidence in one another and our spiritual growth
  • By listening to one another and being sensitive to the hurts, concerns, fears, and worries of others
  • By being sensitive to the weaknesses of others and not putting stumbling blocks in their way
  • By teaching and encouraging the pure love for Christ.

2 Corinthians , , ,